Last year I talked about my friend leaving the area and starting a new. This year she has gone that one step further and started her own business. Cupcake Corner Chepstow. I couldn’t be more proud of her and as scary as it might be going it alone, she has proved that you are never too old or young to start something unknown to you. With research, drive and the courage to boldly go where you have not gone before. This is Catherine’s story…
After moving to a new house, I decided that I would sort out my life regarding my career and work, after all, that was the point of this move!
Being in a new part of the country and not knowing anyone is always a bit worrying at first, but you soon meet people and learn to fit in. Having always worked in schools for most of my life, I wanted to use this opportunity and starting afresh for a new challenge. When I say challenge, what I mean is ‘adventure’. I’ve learnt over the past few years that you must look at things in a positive light as much as possible. You’re in charge of how you look at the world, as well as how you respond to what’s happening around you, good or bad. Being in control of my destiny feels empowering. I can’t believe it’s taken 40 years to feel like this, mind you!
I wanted to do work that I wanted to do. I had previously always taken employment in the past for the benefits of the money to help support my family regardless of my wants. What if, I thought, I could raise money through something I had a passion for, something I was good at?
Did someone say cake?
Over the years, I have always had a real passion for baking cakes; it was an avenue by which I could express my creativity as well as being therapeutic, but even better was the reactions I got from giving my cakes away for others to enjoy. I had donated cakes to various events, including school events, coffee mornings for charity, birthdays, and so on… The response I got was fantastic and so positive, and over time, I kept getting more and people saying to me “why don’t you open a little cake business? Even from my father in law! Each time I would coyly respond that I wasn’t good enough to make a business from it. How could I be? As I had always given cakes away, no one was going to criticise a freebie, were they? Selling for money, on the other hand, is having 100% confidence in your product that it is worth exchanging for money. I wasn’t in a place where I had that level of confidence in myself and running a business; I hadn’t got a clue? I had always worked for other people.
Once I had made this move, things seemed to fall into place; my family had settled very quickly and, in between looking for jobs, I had some breathing space. During this time, I got back in the kitchen and started experimenting with my cakes again, and I found that I had a passion for cupcakes. I love how they are so versatile and how quickly you can whip them up in comparison to celebration cakes say. I started playing with recipes I had trialled over the years with both sponge and buttercream, and I gradually created, which I believe to be the perfect combination of ingredients. Then it hit me… that these were good enough to sell! (I had recently bought a few off a stall locally which I found to be dry, so if they could sell them then….)
Getting my family on board
So, when my husband came home from work, I told him that I wanted to start trialling selling of my cupcakes. He thought it was a good idea, especially since he had become a massive fan of them too! I felt that I wasn’t jumping in the deep end with this because I was now very confident with the quality of my cupcakes, and it was only cupcakes that I was focusing on. It felt safe; it felt very comfortable. I set about creating a Facebook page and started by inviting my friends to the page. I spent some time uploading photos of previous cupcakes I had made, as well as researching the rest of the ‘stuff’ I needed to do or know, for example, organising a visit from environmental health and organising public liability insurance. I explored one aspect every day, and before I knew it, after a few weeks, I had my 5-star food hygiene certificate, my public liability in place and had my first few ‘proper orders’. I also ran a competition to gain a wider audience, as well as setting up an Instagram account. Yes, I was always behind the times when it came to technology!
Small change made a huge difference
I am now what I consider to be a fully running business, even though it’s something I still do on the side alongside my main work. I am so proud of myself, I never imagined me doing this a year ago. I’ve learnt that the only way to empower yourself is to take small risks and ‘try’ something new. I’ve always loved the adage “it’s better to regret something that you have done than something you haven’t done”, and in this case, I won’t regret relying on myself to achieve. People are started to ask me if I make celebration cakes, and as, yet, I’ve held back on that one. However, who knows? This time next year, I might just be dishing out those big cakes with confidence also; never say never!
Recipe For You To Try
Catherine was kind enough to share one of the favourites. Her lemon cupcake with lemon icing.